The game of football is evolving, and coaches play a key role as they continually adapt to these changes to ensure that athletes and their on-field protection are a focus for football programs. This duty is important to the fabric and future of the game so that kids can continue to have a positive football experience.
For many programs, that duty manifests itself in improving blocking and tackling techniques, creating smarter practice plans and adopting technologically advanced equipment.
A technology designed to help coaches and athletic training staffs attain these goals is Riddell’s InSite Training Tool. Used by more than 1,000 college, high school and youth programs across the U.S. and Canada, the tool has helped thousands of athletes improve how they play the game and evolve how coaches teach their players.
InSite Training Tool, or ITT, is football’s leading head impact monitoring system. ITT collects and analyzes on-field head impacts, while also alerting sideline staff to an atypical impact event. ITT includes an easy-to-use web-based platform that utilizes team impact data to build individualized impact profiles. ITT also includes an advanced practice planning tool and provides a data-driven approach to managing athletes by identifying training opportunities based on head impact data.
One organization that’s enjoyed the benefits of the tool, the Madison Jr. Dodgers Varsity youth football team in Madison, NJ, has been using smart helmet technology for the past three seasons, outfitting more than 35 players per team each season.
InSite player units fit underneath the helmet’s interior liner to capture on-field impact data.
“The InSite technology allows us to refine how we coach so we can take the head out of the game. What we’re able to see on the data is where impacts occur throughout practice or games, then check the film or practice plans to see how it occurred, so we can correct the behavior,” said Madison Jr. lineman coach Joe DeMarzo. DeMarzo also says the team uses the InSite Training Tool weekly to view reports of their team’s impact data all the way from full team down to an individual player. The system then uses that data and compares it to national averages for similar players by position and age group, flagging any atypical behavior.
DeMarzo, who leads the smart helmet technology program for the team, says the tool has enabled them to become better coaches with data they would otherwise never have gotten from the field. “It’s a cool aspect of our program that we can track each individual player’s impact data to see not only, how they are improving on the field, but how are we getting smarter as coaches.”
Madison Jr. staff says the benefits are important to them as coaches but also for parents knowing there’s that extra layer of protection on the field.
“For me as a coach it provides extra knowledge, safety, an extra set of eyes, and there is a comfort level knowing that if a kid experiences a significant impact we can evaluate him,” said Jr. Dodgers Head Coach Scott Spelker. He adds they’ve used the tool to identify drills that involve more contact to the players than they’d like to see, allowing them to adapt how they coach as the season progresses.
Madison Jr. Varsity players practicing in Riddell InSite-equipped helmets.
Since Madison Jr. has installed InSite in their program they have seen an increase in enrollment of 8 to 9 kids per season. Many of the staffers credit ITT for the strong turnout and continued success in the program, so much so, the local high school has taken notice, exploring adopting the innovative technology as well.
Long-standing President of Madison Jr. football Tom Leck said, “InSite was important for me because I want parents and kids to know that here at Madison Jr., we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we have the best protection available to our players.”
“Using the InSite technology and the InSite Training Tool is important for the future of football. It’s on us as coaches and administrators to take the necessary steps to ensure a strong future for the game, and this smart helmet technology has enabled us to do that for our program.”
Madison Jr. Varsity finished the 2018 season 6-2, just missing the league championship, but with all the returning players and growing rosters, thanks in part to InSite, coaches Spelker and DeMarzo are looking forward to a strong 2019 campaign.
If you are interested in bringing InSite technology to your team you can contact your local Riddell Rep or visit our website.